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Trinity Anglican Methodist

Primary School

Aiming higher together, every day in every way

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Phonics and Early Reading


Early Reading

Before learning that a written symbol can be used to represent a phoneme (sound), a pupil needs to be able to recognise the individual sounds of speech. At Trinity, we follow a synthetic, systematic approach to early phonics as well as providing a rich learning environment which promotes further opportunities to develop Communication and Language skills. In every day practice, our skilled practitioners support pupil’s language development through high quality provocations and interactions and daily speaking and listening activities that are well matched to pupil’s developing abilities and interests. Within the EYFS, pupils are taught to listen attentively, develop phonological awareness (the ability to recognise the rhythms and sounds of speech) through rhyme, rhythm and alliteration and are also supported to develop oral blending and segmenting which are all integral parts of the later stages of phonics. 


In EYFS, we support pupils to understand that printed text carries meaning. Pupils begin to learn the phonetic code when they enter Reception and they begin to decode printed text. The model below shows that both skills are needed to achieve fluent reading.


We aspire to support all children effectively so they acquire the skills to achieve within the Good/Good section of this model. This concept is used throughout the whole school.


At Trinity, we ensure all pupils have several reading experiences every day. They will listen to stories being read to them, they will read in the learning environment, they will read for a purpose, eg: to find out how to complete a task, they may read in a 1:1 scenario and they will have time to read for pleasure. We want to instil in every pupil a love for reading; ensuring they are equipped with the skills to be lifelong readers. 


Phonics scheme 

At Trinity, we are proud to be using Unlocking Letters and Sounds which was validated by the DfE in December 2021. 




We begin teaching phonics in the first few weeks of term 1 in Reception and children make rapid progress in their reading journey. Children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4.


Please see the Phase 2 link below for an example of the actions, images and handwriting formation the children will be exposed to during the phonics teaching. 


In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, they learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words. By the end of Year 1, children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1, all children are screened using the national Phonics Screening Check.


In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery of the phonetic code and any child who does not meet age related expectations will continue to receive support to close identified gaps.


For further details please see the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression in the link below.


To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to keep up through bespoke 1-1 interventions. These include GPC recognition and blending and segmenting interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have an impact.




Phonics screener check

Year 1 pupils are required to take part in a phonics screener check to measure their understanding of phonics. This is a national check that all children in England are required to complete. All pupils are monitored throughout the year and parents/carers are informed about how their child is achieving throughout the year. The check combines a mixture of real and pseudo (nonsense) words which the children have to decode (read). The check takes place at the end of Year One.


Please use the link below to see the materials used in the Phonic Screener Check. These are adapted each year.



The Teaching of Reading


At Trinity, we promote a 'phonics first' approach and in both our guided reading sessions at school and in the books children take home. Texts are very closely matched to a child's current phonics knowledge so that every child can experience real success in their reading. 


In these crucial early stages of reading we primarily use books from Ransom Reading Stars Phonics and Oxford University Press to ensure complete fidelity to the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression we follow. Once children progress beyond decodable texts, they move onto our book scheme so that they can continue to progress in their decoding, fluency and comprehension skills to become avid, expert readers.


At Trinity, we use picture books, novels, poems and factual texts from EYFS to Year 6 to engage and stimulate learning. We ensure children are exposed to high quality literature that deepens and challenges their knowledge and understanding. We encourage children to be ‘active’ readers. This means we want children to be asking questions as they read, we want them to be puzzled by the challenging pitch of the selected texts and we want them to be making predictions and reflecting on what they have read. Although independent reading time is crucial for enjoyment, reading encompasses many other skills, which need discrete opportunities to explore. We have guided reading sessions where the children focus on developing specific reading skills.


Reading at home

As parents and carers, you can make the biggest difference to your child’s success as a reader by encouraging them to read as much and as widely as possible at home. Reading with your child every day, even just for 10 minutes, can make all the difference to their progress. We encourage our families to find a quiet space and dedicate quality time to enjoying reading at home with their child.


To support reading further, we provide pupils with access to an online reading platform called Bug Club. These texts are phonetically decodable so pupils can practise, and apply, reading skills they have been taught at school. This platform is also tailored to individual reading levels and incorporates questions to develop comprehension skills as well as decoding.


We ask that all reading at home is recorded in the communication book we use called the Share Book.



Together we inspire, through our Christian values, unique individuals who believe they can achieve more than they ever thought possible in mind, body and spirit. Through nurture and challenge, we provide a firm foundation to enable all to thrive, to lead and serve in their life long journey as local, national and global citizens.